News, Perspectives, and Insights on Writing and Publishing

From the Staff of The Editorial Department

August 20, 2016

Characters: Making Them Real
Tips on making your characters convincing and memorable from editor Renni Browne

Most fiction writers begin a novel or short story by coming up with characters firmly in mind and then building a story around them—or by coming up with a plot and then building characters to play the various roles it requires. It’s not really that simple, of course: […]
August 17, 2016

Yul Brynner’s Black Hat
Considering good vs. evil in fantasy fiction

Bad guys and black hats are, in the classic American Western film, almost synonymous. Even if you haven’t seen many Westerns, you’ve probably absorbed this knowledge via cultural osmosis—I certainly had. Fortunately, the first Western I was privileged to watch was The Magnificent Seven (if a cowboy movie based on […]
August 9, 2016

My Neighbor is My Editor
A seasoned pro takes aim at the notion that anyone with eyes can be an editor

This just in: your neighbor’s English skills are probably not up to the standards of book publishing. When I first began editing books, I had been a professional editor for more than twenty years, at a New York-area newspaper, a regional magazine, and several magazines with an international readership. Perfectionist that […]
August 3, 2016
Movie Theatre

Is Your Book a Movie? (Part 1)
A crash course in book-to-screen adaptation

Is your book a movie? Should it be? How do you get from here to there-and what’s in it for you? Fasten your seat-belt, and let’s rip through this… TED’s Director of Development, John Robert Marlow, presents a crash course in determining if your novel has cinematic potential. […]
July 26, 2016

What Editors (Really) Do
A guide for authors, by Editorial Department founder Renni Browne

In one of my favorite New Yorker cartoons by Sam Gross, a cat is maniacally clawing an upholstered chair, obviously not for the first time. In the caption its owner explains to her guests: “We believe that in a former life she was an editor.” Over the forty-five […]
July 20, 2016

Coming Out of the Fanfiction Closet
Part Two: But do the original authors approve?

This is part of a series on fanfiction. For the first entry, click here. So you’re a famous author. You’ve written a series that’s captured the imaginations of millions of readers. You have fan clubs, a movie deal, hordes of Twitter followers, and high six-figure royalty advances. Then […]